Every runner has a story of a headlamp problem while running. To avoid ill-fitting straps, sore necks, unreliable lighting, and the dreaded dead battery, having a quality and reliable lamp is important, a fact I learned on my very first night run on the trails. I had unwisely signed up for a double: racing a short nighttime five-kilometer event after my first, longer trail race ever, held earlier in the day. My legs a little shaky and sore from navigating terrain in the morning, I was still glad to take a short jaunt in the cooler temperatures after sunset.
My lightweight and slick headlamp lasted through the initial climb and while I skirted a small peak, but as soon as I began to pick my way down the rocky Arizona trail with about a mile to the finish, the world suddenly went dark — my headlamp went out. Well, great, I thought, now I’ll have to walk it in. But in true trail running community style, another runner coming up behind me kindly offered her second (!) headlamp, and I was able to avoid going head over heels toward the finish line.
It was clear that I needed a new headlamp for my nighttime trail running. Enter the Nitecore UT27.
The Nitecore UT27 Specifications
At first glance, the Nitecore UT27 has the traditional size and shape of many headlamps on the market. But as I would learn, it packs a lot of punch in that package.
The ultralight lamp weighs only 74 grams (2.6 ounces). It has a wide, textured headband to prevent sliding, and the battery pack is located behind the light itself which sits on the forehead.
The UT27 comes with a rechargeable 1,300 milliamp-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The lamp is also conveniently compatible with three regular AAA batteries. A second nice addition is the glow-in-the-dark battery pack — no more fumbling around in the dark if you need to change batteries in the middle of your run. There’s a built-in USB-C charging port for recharging that lithium-ion battery pack.
The UT27 has a fascinating dual-beam design. Using its spotlight and floodlight functions, you can easily shorten or lengthen your field of vision to see what’s ahead, or home in on the lines on a map in your hands to get you where you need to go. The spotlight’s narrower, farther-reaching beam has a warm white color temperature of 3,000 Kelvin, while the floodlight’s wider, shorter-length beam is a cool blue color temperature of 5,700 Kelvin.
Both beams have low and high settings. The spotlight beam’s low setting will produce 100 lumens for 10 hours to a maximum distance of 65 meters (213 feet), while the high setting will produce 400 lumens for six hours to a max distance of 128 meters (420 feet).
The floodlight beam’s low setting emanates 55 lumens for 13 hours to a max distance of 16 meters (53 feet), and the high setting produces 200 lumens for eight hours to a max distance of 31 meters (102 feet).
The UT27 comes with a very bright 520 maximum lumen Turbo setting that activates with a double press of either button, so that you can briefly light the way through an extra technical section or to look for far-off route markers on a race course.
An even more versatile use is as a lamp for your tent or campsite — the UT27 also includes a light-diffusing stuff sack so users can turn the headlamp into a soft dinner glow.
Finally, the UT27 has an auxiliary red light that will glow solid or blink.
The Nitecore UT27 in the Field
Nearly a year after that initial headlamp incident, I had the chance to end my headlamp woes by trying the new Nitecore UT27.
Heading out on a gradual trail in northern Arizona just after dusk, I clicked on the lamp and was fascinated to see two different color lights set side by side: one with the more traditional cool white light, and the other warm white. Easily clicking between the two as I strode along the rolling trail, I found they could be used on their own, the floodlight for going uphill and high-speed running and the spotlight penetrating long throw suitable for running on downhill paths and areas with poor conditions. What was also cool was to use them in combination, the two lights providing a bright and detailed view for short-term searching.
On the relatively buffed-out route I ran that night, there wasn’t a real necessity to use the 520-lumen Turbo mode, but I tried it out anyway. A quick second click while the light is already on activates the ultra-bright setting, one that would be useful while trying to spot a course marker or trail turnoff while under deep tree cover. Wow, that was bright.
Clicking off the light before I got back on the road and to my car, I found it to be utterly dark — thank goodness for headlamps while we’re running!
Nitecore is a leading manufacturer of advanced-tech, professional-quality headlamps for many fields. While its headlamps are strong and durable enough for spelunking and 24-hour construction gigs, that doesn’t mean trail runners and ultrarunners of all abilities can’t enjoy the high-quality headlamps too.
As the only flashlight brand that has won all four prestigious product design awards (including the American International Design Excellence Awards, German iF Design Award, Red Dot Design Award, and Japanese G-Mark), Nitecore is at the cutting edge of illumination technology, ensuring that runners like yourselves can be too.
The Nitecore UT27 is a compact, versatile, and high-power headlamp that will reliably light up your darkest runs on the road, trail, or mountain pass.
[Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Nitecore. Thank you to Nitecore for its sponsorship of iRunFar, which helps to make iRunFar happen and free for all to enjoy. Learn more about our sponsored articles.]